Hamilton Explorer Range Rover Club Trip October 2001
Mark L, Mark F and Liam
This wasn't really a 4WD trip, and the greater majority of the trip was on good quality sealed bitumen. What this trip was about, was exploring some of the volcanic history of Western Victoria.
Our meeting place was at Lismore at 9:00, which meant a fairly early start from home to get there in time. After introductions, and a briefing we made our way around the old Flax Mills in Lismore and then headed off to Mt Elephant. Mt Elephant is a giant scoria cone, but is wholly on private land and we were not able to arrange access to drive up the cone.
We drove on to Lake Bolac, where I suspect Liam influenced one of the other young boys on the trip to fall into the lake and had our morning tea on the rocky shore. From memory, Lake Bolac was formed by the lava flows blocking old stream beds forming a natural dam.
From Lake Bolac we drove to Penshurst and had our lunch on Mt Rouse. Quite good views from the fire tower where overlooking the plains, and we could also see quite clearly Mt Napier, which would be our next destination. After exploring the scoria cones on the face of the volcano, we headed off to Mt Napier and our campsite for the night.
We arrived into Mt Napier State Park from the north, via Buckley Swamp and proceeded to climb to the top of the volcanic cone. Again we had quite excellent views, and the Western lip of the volcanic crater was missing where the lava had spilled out and flowed out to form the Byaduk lava tubes, which we would explore on Sunday.
I was quite impressed with Liam's climbing, having made it to the top of the volcano easily. We saw some goats on the side of the cone, and we climbed down into the crater as well before making our way back down the mountain side and getting completely lost on our way back to camp.
The tents were quite hard to pitch, due to the ground consisting entirely of small volcanic stones just below the shallow top soil and grass. There were also some enormous toadstools growing beneath the trees, which all of the kids found quite fascinating. A short walk at night to spot any possums and then we were off to sleep for a very noisy night, thanks to a number of koalas.
On Sunday we saw some very interesting formations, apparently quite unique in the world where the cooling lava had solidified into rock, then been buckled upwards forming mounds of basalt called tumuli.
These were on a farmers property easily visible from the road through an electrified fence which the kids had great fun with by forming a chain of hands and then grabbing the fence so that all where zapped.
From here we visited the Byaduk Lava tubes, some of which had collapsed ceilings allowing us to enter them and explore by torch light.
We drove along the Henty Highway, which gave us views back across the lava plains to Mt Napier and then made for our lunch destination at Wannon Falls.
The falls were in great form, with a very decent flow of water. The track down to the falls base was closed, and looked like it had been for a long time. A new viewing platform had been built at the top of the falls since I had last visited.
After lunch we visited Nigretta Falls further up the Wannon River and then drove up the west side of the Grampians in search of Brolgas, but did not find any. We cut across the Grampians (on which Road I can't recall) and headed out along some dirt tracks to Moyston and back home.